Blackberry mojito lemonade tea

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Normally I’m not a huge fan of the Arnold Palmer, iced tea mixed with lemonade. But I became slightly obsessed after trying the blackberry mojito lemonade tea at Starbucks. Sweet blackberries, tempered with the sourness of lemonade, all grounded by the earthiness of tea. And just for an extra kick to make this drink unforgettable, a light, natural mint flavor suddenly appears, leaving your mouth refreshed and tingling.

After having a couple of them, I decided that I could make my own at home. I had made flavored lemonades before, so I knew it would be simple. All it would require is some muddling and the right balance of flavors. I feel like this was a great success. I’m also happy to tell you that it’s quite a lovely cocktail with some vodka mixed in. I know fall is coming but it’s still hot here, (94 with a feels like of 101 today.) So this drink is still perfectly lovely for the time of year.

Blackberry mojito lemonade tea
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Ingredients
24 oz by weight blackberries
1/2 – 1 cup fresh mint
64 oz lemonade (I used Santa Cruz organic lemonade)
1 1/2 – 2 cups brewed mild-flavored tea, cooled (I used English Breakfast)

Bring 12-16 oz of water to a boil, (8 oz per tea bag.) Once water has reached a rolling boil, turn off the heat and submerge the tea bags in the water. Allow tea bags to steep for approximately 10 minutes. Remove tea bags and allow the tea to cool to room temperature.

In a large pitcher, muddle together the blackberries and mint. (You can use a large spoon or, in my case, I used a mallet. *shrug* It works.)

Add lemonade and tea to the muddled mixture. Stir and refrigerate for two hours. The longer you allow the ingredients to hang out with one another, the better flavor you’ll have.

Pour drink mixture through a fine mesh sieve before serving.

Enjoy!

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Mint hot chocolate pie

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I’m sorry I’m late with this pie post. I made it on Friday, but haven’t had a chance to blog about it. I’ve been busy with planning decorations for the school costume dance and getting Girl Scout ducks in a row. We also finally had a chance to go to the local farm Fall Festival this weekend. It was rained out last weekend, so pretty much every young family in Northern Virginia was there. Fortunately, we had absolutely gorgeous weather. The irresistible smell of kettle corn permeated the cool breeze while bluegrass and honky tonk played over well-hidden speakers. We gave loves to bunnies, baby chickens, and cows. Those milking cows are super patient. They have a cow you can just walk up to and milk, (under supervision, of course.) I think random people walking up to me and squeezing my boobs would make me….cranky. The girls had fun on giant slides, a hay ride, and inside a hay fort, (and I only lost ZoĆ« once) while I was roped into a do si do with one of the farmers while he sang Thank God I’m a Country Boy. We ended the day with buying giant pumpkins. I’m going to Pinterest project at least one of those bitches!
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And now for something completely different…

So…..pie. The flavors of Christmas inspired this pie. Peppermint and chocolate fill our stockings and candy bowls in a nod to the first meal Mary ate after birthing the baby Jesus. One of my favorite things to do is to sip hot chocolate through peppermint straws while watching claymation Rudolph and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. I wanted to make a pie that brought those flavors together. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really find any recipes that did what I wanted. I initially thought I’d somehow incorporate peppermint candies into an Oreo crust. But just like John Boehner, I decided that was just going to be too dangerous for the public and pulled the plan from consideration at the last minute.

So I turned to a cookie I make every year for Christmas, chocolate Andes mint cookies. I knew I was going to make the crust from Oreos, and decided to add melted Andes mints on top of the crust. But what to do for the filling? Mousse seemed too light. I then remembered a pie I had made a couple of years ago that had a chocolate pudding-like thickness that seemed like it would be perfect. The results were not quite what I had envisioned, but were delicious nonetheless. The crust was crunchy and minty, thanks to the mint Oreos and layer of Andes mints. The chocolate custard filling is thick and creamy, adding to the textural experience and complimenting the flavor of the crust. The crust is definitely the star of this pie.

Mint hot chocolate pie

Crust

25 Oreos, original or mint (35 for a 9 1/2 inch pie plate)
4 Tbsp unsalted butter (5 Tbsp for a 9 1/2 inch pie plate)

Pulse cookies until you achieve a fine crumb and the filling has been fully incorporated into the cookie crumbs. Place crumbs in a bowl. Melt butter and add melted butter to cookie crumbs. Mix with a fork until well incorporated. Press crumbs into the pie plate bottom and up the sides. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes. Turn off oven. Place 20-25 Andes mint candies on the bottom of the crust. Place the pie back in the oven for about two minutes. Spread melted candies evenly over the bottom of the crust. Let crust cool completely on a cooling rack. Candies will harden as they cool.
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Filling

1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp instant espresso
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
1 3/4 cup 2% milk
2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

Whisk together sugar through the egg yolk in a bowl. Heat milk in a saucepan over medium-high; cook until the milk forms tiny bubbles around the edge of the pan. Do not boil. Stir frequently to avoid scalding the milk. Very slowly, add the hot milk to the egg mixture. (You’re tempering the eggs so they don’t cook while you add the milk. Otherwise, you’ll end up with scrambled eggs.) Return the milk mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat until it becomes thick and bubbly, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in dark chocolate until smooth. Pour into crust and let it cool for 20 minutes. Cover surface of filling with plastic wrap and chill for a few hours, until set.
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Crust adapted from Pioneer Woman. Filling adapted from Cooking Light.